WHAT’S YOUR BIAS? THE SURPRISING SCIENCE OF WHY WE VOTE THE WAY WE DO

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WHAT’S YOUR BIAS? THE SURPRISING SCIENCE OF WHY WE VOTE THE WAY WE DO

24th October 2017 @ 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm

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Dr Lee de-WitRecent election results have confounded political pundits both here in the UK and across the globe.

Many people feel more divided than ever. How much do we really know about ourselves, and each other? Psychologists have been studying how we make political choices for years, and the truth is, we’re a lot less rational than we think we are; we vote for reasons we’re not even consciously aware of.

The Henry Jackson Society are delighted to invite you to an event with Dr. Lee de-Wit, author of  What’s Your Bias? Dr. Lee de-Wit will explore the subtle – and often surprising – factors that could be influencing our votes, from our personality traits and unconscious biases to our susceptibility to campaign targeting and fake news.

Copies of What’s Your Biaswill be available to buy on the day for the special price of £10. Please note we do not accept card payments.

Dr Lee de-Wit is a psychologist and neuroscientist who has studied and worked at a number of leading universities in the UK and Europe, including Durham University, the University of Leuven, the University of Oxford, the University of Bristol and the Pierre and Marie Curie University. He has recently developed lectures on the psychology of politics for University College London and the University of Cambridge, as well as creating a number of public communication projects, including the Durham Cafe Scientifique and the Bristol Politics Cafe.

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EVENT SUMMARY

On the 24th October 2017, the Henry Jackson Society hosted Dr. Lee De-Wit, author of What’s Your Bias? and a psychologist and neuroscientist who has studied and worked at a number of leading universities in the UK and Europe. Dr. De-Wit provided an excellent insight into the surprising science of why we vote the way we do, taking various factors into account that are overlooked during the decision process that the electorate undertake.

Dr De-Wit’s summary of his book provided many surprising suggestions as to the theory behind the subconscious influences that alter our voting behaviour, most notably that of our genetics. Studies have suggested that twins, and more notably identical twins, are more likely to vote in the same way as they tend to evaluate the same ‘attitude items’, such as views on gay rights and capitalism, in the same way. Importantly however, the twins used in the study were not co-habiting but rather living separately and not experiencing the same subconscious effects. Regardless, they still came to the same conclusions. Resultantly, a discovery that there was a link between genetics and voting trends has been established.

Perception is another key factor in the bias that we have – a seemingly overlooked issue in reality, and one that leads to divide across the left and right of the political map. Dr. De-Wit pointed out Jonathan Haidt’s work titled The Righteous Mind in which he looked at five key factors – fairness, harm, loyalty, authority and sanctity. Importantly, it has appeared that fairness and harm and two factors much-more considered by those on the left-wing, whilst loyalty, authority and sanctity proved key factors in the views of those on the right-wing. As a result, political parties may attempt to appease these key issues of importance whilst attempting to gain more of a vote.

With the idea of things being considered unfair during the vote, a video of two monkeys showing different reactions to similar rewards perfectly demonstrated the issue at hand. With both monkeys similarly treated for doing the same actions, the fact that one was given a grape and the other a stick of celery with the latter throwing his celery away in anger, the monkey stopped doing his task. Almost in protest at his lack of grapes, the monkey was perfectly depicting the reality of voting – if you don’t think it’s fair, or you don’t think it will represent you to the necessary degree, you will stop voting. Fairness is therefore a key element of voting behaviour, and may contribute to the fact that certain groups and/or minority have different turnout levels.

Dr De-Wit provided a wonderful insight into the science and psychology of our voting behaviour, coupled with an insightful question and answer session with a thoroughly interested audience. The Henry Jackson Society would like to thank Dr De-Wit for his presentation and revelations that have provided a significant insight into the underlying reality of our voting behaviour.

Details

Date:
24th October 2017
Time:
6:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Event Tags:
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Venue

Millbank Tower
21-24 Millbank
Westminster, SW1P 4RS United Kingdom
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Other

SPEAKER
Dr Lee de-Wit, author, What's Your Bias?

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